Journaling has enormous benefits for not only your child but for you as their teacher. From helping your child find their writer’s voice to helping you work through anxiety, it can improve nearly every part of your life. But, finding time to sit down and journal may be difficult. My suggestion? Start with baby steps. You can journal in 5 minutes a day and begin to see small changes to your writing and your mental health.
The easiest way to start any new habit is to start small. If your child is new to daily writing, then 5 minutes a day can be enough to help them become familiar with it and to feel comfortable. Short periods can also be great for younger children who have a shorter attention span. And, don’t forget to journal along with your child. You both will begin to see the benefits of daily writing.
Start with a Freewrite
A super quick exercise for your journal is to freewrite. What does this mean? With this style of writing, you are not choosing any single topic specifically. You write the first thing that comes to your mind, then write continuously for 5 minutes. Your thoughts might bounce around to 10 different things before you’re done, and it might not make a lot of sense, but it is a great way to dump all those feelings and thoughts out of your head and onto paper.
There are very few rules to freewriting:
- Keep your pencil moving. Don’t stop. Just brain dump onto your paper
- Have a set amount of time. Set a timer and write for the full amount of time. Let your child know ahead of time that though they can continue writing if they want, they only have to write until the timer goes off.
- Ignore all grammar and spelling. Don’t let editing slow down the process. The goal is to get thoughts on paper. Spelling and grammar are not important in this instance.
- Pen and paper aren’t the only ways to freewrite. If your child hates to write or has difficulty using a pencil, then let them type on the computer. Not only does this accomplish the task, but it builds typing skills.
Try 5 Minutes a Day of Expressing Gratitude
Another way for a quick 5-minute journaling session is to express gratitude. It only takes a couple of minutes, though this can be your entire 5-minute journaling routine if you prefer. However, if you want to add other thoughts as well to the 5-minute journaling session, add a quick list of 3 things or people you are grateful for each day. It gets your thoughts going and puts you into a positive headspace.
Make a List
Making a list may seem like cheating, but it’s not. Listing can help clear your child’s mind and help them to focus. For a quick list method, you can write down three good things on your mind, and three negative or stressful thoughts. You can ask your child to list their favorite toys or school subjects and, of course, their least favorite. Or you and your child can list a few things you need to get accomplished that day or week. It doesn’t matter what type of list your child creates; it starts the process and gets them acclimated to daily writing.
Journal 5 Minutes a Day with Prompts
When you feel stuck, don’t waste time just trying to think of something to write about. Journaling prompts provide statements or questions that can get your mind thinking about a specific topic. Instead of wasting time thinking about what to write, choose a simple journal prompt, and write about what it is asking. There are thousands and thousands of them, which you can find on Pinterest, blogs, and just about anywhere on the internet. In fact, you can download 52 Journaling Prompts below (one for every week) and get started now.
Hi, I’m Dachelle. I’m a homeschooling mom of 3 in the South. I love chocolate and have been known to hide it from my children. I can often be found reading a good book (or even sometimes just an okay book) and enjoying a jar of Nutella — don’t judge. I blog, here, at HideTheChocolate.com when I’m not creating book clubs and making lists…lots and lots of lists (it’s an addiction). Learn more…
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